ESCONDIDO, CA, AUGUST 24, 2015 - Country music legend Vince Gill uses a streamlined approach to touring, using house sound systems in virtually every venue he plays. To ensure the full coverage and sound quality that fans expect, production manager and FOH engineer Hugh Johnson carries VUE Audiotechnik loudspeakers to complement whatever “PA du jour” the tour may encounter.
Johnson acknowledges that it’s unusual to select a new loudspeaker brand for an established artist like Vince Gill. “It’s true, but I heard them demoed and was intrigued. There’s this clarity and musicality about them that I haven’t had before,” he says. “I brought some into Sound Image Nashville, and every model sounded great right out of the box. The more I heard, the more I liked them.”
To ensure full, even coverage for every seat in the house, Johnson starts with full-range, self-powered stacks from the VUE h-Class line on both corners of the stage. An h-15W (wide dispersion) and h-15N (narrow) are paired together, with the latter cross-firing toward the middle of the front rows. Beneath them sits one VUE hs-28 subwoofer with dual 18-inch drivers, deployed horizontally.
“This subwoofer is turning into one of my favorite loudspeakers,” says Johnson. “It’s rare among 18-inch systems in that it actually delivers a musical note, not just thump. For instance, the bass guitar coming through the hs-28 sounds really nice and even, very melodic but with plenty of impact.”
The hs-28 employs VUE’s patent-pending Active Compliance Management (ACM), combining direct radiating and vented band-pass speaker deployments in a single enclosure. This unique hybrid subwoofer design reduces distortion while optimizing amplitude and phase response. Uniquely, it utilizes separate on-board power supplies and DSP algorithms for each 18-inch driver.
Full-range VUE a-8 loudspeakers ensure even coverage for the front rows. “Depending on the venue, I’ll use anywhere from six to eight of them spaced along the stage lip,” says Johnson. “They’ve got a rotatable horn, which we’ve set to give us 70-degree dispersion when they lay on their side, easily covering the first two, three rows.”
Out at front of house, Johnson uses VUE i-6a compact full-range speakers as nearfield monitors, with one on each corner of the console doghouse. “I use them as my personal fill speakers,” explains Johnson. “At a lot of theaters, I might be stuck under a balcony or some other bad position. Sonically, these fill the void as well or better than anything I’ve tried. They are very accurate, which is important, since my nearfields get no EQ. The i-6a is perfect in that role.”
Having now had them on tour, Hugh Johnson is also impressed with the overall roadworthiness of VUE Audiotechnik. “It has been effortless getting it to match up with modern line array. I usually get my system tuned in about 10 to 15 minutes a day, which is remarkable,” he says. “Plus, they are extremely well built and nice looking, with a finish as tough as anything out there. I will absolutely be taking them out again.